Norfolk Street Educare - 03/05/2019

1 Evaluation of Norfolk Street Educare

How well placed is Norfolk Street Educare to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Norfolk Street Educare is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Norfolk Street Educare, located close to the centre of Whangarei, provides education and care for 56 children, including up to 25 under the age of two years.

Programmes for children aged three and four are provided in 'The Villa', a modified house with two outdoor areas, while the younger children are accommodated in a purpose-built facility with a separate outdoor space. Two team leaders work closely with each other and with an area manager who has oversight of other Educare Early Learning Centres.

The centre's philosophy is consistent with the values of Educare Early Learning Centres and aligned with the aims of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It acknowledges te ao Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi. Respectful relationships and environments that support children's wellbeing and learning are important to the team.

The 2015 ERO report identified positive areas of practice, including governance, management and teacher interactions with children. The key next steps included programme planning, assessment and strategic planning. While progress has been made in these areas they continue to be areas for improvement.

The centre is one of 16 centres owned by the directors of Educare Early Learning Centres. The shared vision across this group is "Learn, Laugh, Play". The group's senior leadership team provides administrative and professional support. They also monitor and evaluate the centre's progress towards achieving the centre-specific strategic goals that align with the organisation's goals.

Educare's focus over the past three years has been professional learning and development (PLD) in leadership and in te ao Māori. More recently, PLD has included a focus on supporting children’s oral language, programme planning, assessment and aspects of performance management.

This review was part of a cluster of three reviews of Educare Early Learning Centres.

The Review Findings

Children experience a programme that promotes learning in an environment that supports their wellbeing. Teachers' interactions with children are positive and affirming. Children are encouraged to lead their own learning. Teachers encourage them to extend their play through careful questioning and by helping them resource their activities.

Infants and toddlers are well cared for and supported to learn. Teachers communicate effectively with parents and provide continuity with the children's home routines. They promote children's oral language development well using a wide range of strategies, including questioning and giving children time to respond.

Centre staff continue to build their capability to help children learn about te ao Māori. Te reo is visible in the environment and is used in the context of the programme. Aspects of tikanga Māori are included in centre activities. Kapa haka tutors visit the centre weekly to work with children. They include age-appropriate activities that are enjoyed by the children.

The centre is well resourced. Teachers have reviewed and improved the layout and resourcing of indoor environments. Children have easy access to appropriate equipment. Children under three years of age have an inviting outdoor area that provides suitable challenges. Centre managers could now consider how to improve the layout of the adjoining outdoor area for the older children, while retaining existing good opportunities for physical challenge.

Teachers work effectively in partnership with parents to support children's learning and wellbeing. Parents share their aspirations for their children with teachers who include them in assessment and planning. Parents are encouraged to contribute to their child's electronic portfolio and share aspects of their children's experiences beyond the centre.

The centre is well led and managed. Teachers work collaboratively to support children and ensure that centre operations run smoothly. Educare Learning Centres has established a suitable policy framework used by all centres.

Internal evaluation is valued at the centre and guides improvement. Educare's guidelines for internal evaluation now have a greater focus on using evaluative questions to guide the process. Where the guidelines are used, the quality of internal evaluation has improved. Strategic planning could now be improved by making strategic goals more specific and encouraging centre leaders to closely monitor progress towards meeting the goals.

Educare is proactively building leadership capability within the organisation. This is working effectively at Norfolk Street Educare. They have also strengthened appraisal processes. The improved appraisal system and targeted professional learning and development is supporting ongoing improvements to teaching and learning.

Key Next Steps

Centre managers agree that key next steps for the centre include:

  • strengthening processes for assessing learning, programme planning and evaluation

  • reviewing the outdoor play area for children over three years

  • continuing to strengthen internal evaluation

  • monitoring progress towards strategic goals.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Norfolk Street Educare completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Centre managers should increase the detail in risk management plans for excursions to encourage staff to think carefully about how risks will be managed and how they should respond to emergencies.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

3 May 2019

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning.

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

56 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 35 Boys 27

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

3 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2015

Education Review

June 2012

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.